6 Tips to Get Back to Business After the Shutdown

It's no lie that the Coronavirus has had a huge impact on businesses.

From being forced to close to having fewer customers than normal, the pandemic has definitely left its mark. If you've had to shut your store, you might be at a loss for what to do.

But instead of waiting for everything to get back to normal, why not start planning ways to boost your brand when you can get back to business? It's a much better use of your time and gives your company a head start.

To help you here's a store re-opening checklist you can use.


Check the Damage

Coronavirus has affected businesses in different ways, but most can say there's been some damage done. It's important you take stock of this before opening to know more about your losses and the new budget you're left with.

If you haven't already, now is a great time to update your finances. You should calculate profits and losses and your cash flow, making sure you know how much money is moving in and out. Compare them to the statements from 2019 to get a better idea of the damage the pandemic has caused.

You also need to look at other ways your business has been affected. Have you had to lay-off employees? Have you stopped marketing? These are all factors you'll have to consider when creating a plan to rebuild your business.


Fine-Tune Your Business Plan

Even once we've gained control over Covid-19 and the economy has opened, consumer psychology is likely to change. From an increase in shopping online to a shift in what people are buying, your business might have to adjust to new demands from your customers.

This means you need to go back to the drawing board. Take out your business plans and run through them, seeing where you may have to tweak it to fit in with these new demands.

You might have to make changes to your business goals, too. If you've set revenue goals, for example, these might have to be lowered to account for the time you've been closed.


Start Looking for Alternative Vendors

When your business re-opens, that doesn't mean your vendors do! This is especially true if you have suppliers from other states or countries.

Before you open, take time to research local vendors that are more likely to open at a similar time to you. Whilst you may not need them, it's good to have a store of contacts saved in case you do, along with price differences.

You should also look at working with shipping companies if you don't already. This will immediately make your business accessible to customers who can't come to your store or are nervous about the pandemic. Delivery should be available to consumers during this time and is essential for your business to thrive.


Will You Need Funding?

A lot of businesses are going to need some extra funding to kickstart their company after the pandemic and keep them afloat during it. It can feel like going back to the start but don't be put off by the idea of asking for help. If you think you will need funding, there are plenty of options.

Take a look at the Paycheck Protection Program if you need help retaining your employees. You can also look into Economic Injury Disaster Loans for help in other situations.

If funding for these is gone, consider an alternative option such as small business loans from banks or business credit cards. Remember to always borrow money carefully.


Keep Your Customers Safe

Even if you're allowed to start up small business operations again, that doesn't mean that Coronavirus is no longer a threat. From a second spike to easing consumer fear, you should definitely still be keeping safe.

Have a PPE checklist in your window that details the protection your staff are wearing, such as masks and gloves, and the measures you're taking to keep your store sanitized. Keep hand sanitizer at the door for customers and have an alarm to wipe down counters every 30 minutes.

Making sure your customers and employees know the steps you're taking is important. People are scared to shop and work, but knowing your business is taking the necessary precautions will encourage them.

It's down to all of us to keep the virus under control, so you play your part and stay protected.


Go Digital

With the rise of the pandemic, shopping online has become more popular than ever. In fact, traditional stores saw online sales increase by 80% in April 2020 compared to 2019. Consumers can't and don't want to go out, so the clear message is that you have to go to them.

This means making your business digital, even when you're re-opening. Here are a few tips for small business owners on how to go digital as you re-open:

Social media - keep in touch with customers, update them on your re-opening, and answer questions using social media platforms

Online delivery - let customers order your products online with either delivery or click and collect service

Online resources - offer digital content to your customers to make sure they stick with your business, such as videos of how to use your products or blogs related to your brand

You can also use digital platforms, such as social media or emails, to communicate directly with customers and employees. Let them know you're open, ask for feedback on services, and encourage them to submit ideas on how you can improve. Digital lets you get close to your customers without actually getting close, so make the most of it.


Let's Get Back to Business

The thought that we might be able to get back to business in a couple of months is exciting, but we need to stay careful. Don't open up before the government says you can to avoid backlash and keep your community safe. When you do, remember to take a look at how you're going to run your business differently to adjust to the 'new normal' consumerism.

If you need help during these uncertain times, join our Chamber of Commerce for plenty of resources and guidance.